January 30, 2023

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On November 23, the Georgia Supreme Court reinstated the state’s ban on abortion after a fetal heart attack was found. The Georgia Supreme Court issued a unilateral order granting Georgia’s emergency request for supersedeas after the Fulton County Supreme Court ruled that Sections 4 and 11 of the Georgia LIFE Act are invalid ab initio.

The Georgia Supreme Court decision can be read here. For more information on the Superior Court of Fulton County’s ruling, visit the BakerHostetler Post-Roe Resource Center. BakerHostetler will continue to monitor these and similar developments.

Georgia’s 6-week abortion law is invalid abortion

The central theses

  • On November 15, the Superior Court of Fulton County declared portions of Georgia’s 6-week abortion ban invalid and unenforceable.

  • The court ruled that because the ban was unconstitutional at the time it was passed in 2019, it was never law.

  • The state has reportedly appealed.


On November 15, the Superior Court of Fulton County entered an order finding that two sections of the Georgia LIFE Act (the Act) – Sections 4 and 11 – were void ab initio. Section 4 of the Act criminalized abortions after the detection of a heartbeat (typically about six weeks into pregnancy), with exceptions only for certain medical emergencies and in cases of rape or incest where a police report had been filed. Section 11 required any physician who performed an abortion after detecting a fetal heartbeat to report to the Georgia Department of Public Health the Section 4 exception that was used to justify the otherwise illegal procedure. Country spokesmen reported that the country had appealed.

procedural history

The law was signed in 2019 and partially came into force on January 1, 2020. The law was challenged and portions were found unconstitutional by the District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. Following the US Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s order and allowed the law to go into effect.

judgment of the Supreme Court

The court stated that Georgia’s doctrine of nullity provided from the outset that “[l]Legislative acts contrary to this Constitution or the Constitution of the United States are void and the judiciary shall declare them so.

The full order can be read here. BakerHostetler will continue to monitor these and similar developments

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the topic. In relation to your specific circumstances, you should seek advice from a specialist.

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